Making delicious coffee with a stovetop moka pot

If you’ve been following our articles about brewing coffee at home, you will know that we love to brew in different ways … some traditional, some not so. We wanted to write about all these interesting ways to brew coffee, as a way to tempt you to follow us into the world of alternative specialty coffee brewing.

It really is a lot of fun and extremely rewarding.

Coffee is wonderfully flexible and organic, and responds well to being brewed in different ways. And by experimenting with different methods we get to experience the wonderful depth and breadth coffee has to offer.

This time we want to go back to an old but trusty method in brewing delicious coffee, the Stovetop Moka Pot.

Let’s start with coffee to water ratios

We want to mix it up a little and provide you with two variations, one for a traditional espresso-like brew, and one for a smoother, rounded flavour. Please note we have tested these ratios with Bialetti Stovetop Moka Pot Brewers. Regardless of the style you choose to brew “traditional” or “specialty” the method below is the same.

Specialty Brew Ratios

With this approach, the resulting cup is round and smooth and gives you the ability to brew filter coffee, origin espresso, and even our white knight house blend. Here you will experience the full range of flavours from the blend showcasing a balanced cup as being a prized characteristic.

Stovetop Size Water Measure (ml) Coffee Weight (gm)
1 Cup (2oz) 60 4
3 Cup (6.5oz) 200 12
6 Cup (10oz) 300 18
9 Cup (18.5oz 550 33
12 Cup (25oz) 775 47
  • Note: The specialty scale works on a standard ratio of 6g of coffee to 100ml of water.
  • Tip: Add or subtract 1g of coffee (per 100ml of water) to adjust strength.

Traditional Brew Ratios

This brew is much stronger, more like the strength of espresso brewed coffee, hence the name stovetop espresso. The flavours experienced are more akin to espresso, being intense and concentrated.

Stovetop Size Water Measure (ml) Coffee Weight (gm)
1 Cup (2oz) 60 8
3 Cup (6.5oz) 200 26
6 Cup (10oz) 300 40
9 Cup (18.5oz 550 72
12 Cup (25oz) 775 100
  • Note: Traditional brewing works on a much higher ratio of coffee to water, almost 13g/100ml.
  • Fact: Weighing heated water is a great way to achieve accurate brewing ratios. 100g of heated water is approximately 100ml. The difference is tiny, so in this guide we assume 100g = 100ml of water.

Here’s what you’ll need.

Step 1

Check the gasket to ensure it is in good condition. Replace if necessary.

Boil a kettle to preheat the water.

Step 2

Weigh the beans (refer to above scale) and grind slightly coarser than for espresso.

  • If you are using an electronic grinder it will be in between your espresso and paper filter grind size.
  • The hand mill is great for stovetop. Here’s how I adjust my grind. Adjust your mill to make the blades touch, then screw three clicks back.
  • Adjust 1 click finer or coarser for your own taste.


Step 3

Pour boiling water from the kettle into the Moka Pot base. Fill to just below the pressure valve.

  • Consult the table above for accurate brewing ratios.


Step 4

Add ground coffee to the basket. The basket will be approximately half full.

Tap the side to ensure the basket is evenly dosed. If you have a round jar you can press the coffee down. 

  • I use the base of my hand-mill to act as a tamper for pressing the ground coffee, a light press is more than sufficient to ensure that all grounds are extracted.

Screw the top onto the brewer and keep upright. Use a cloth to handle the brewer, as it will be hot.

Step 5

Put the brewer on the stove using a medium heat.

When the coffee stops flowing into the upper part of the pot, remove from heat.

Pour and serve.


Get the gear

Buy all the gear you need here.



  1. I have got three different size Moka pots, 4cup, 6cup and 9cup, I have really struggled to get a milder strength coffee using all of the standard instructions telling you to fill the filter basket level, even using mild and medium roast beans with various grind settings.
    Following your Speciality brew ratio table and instructions, for all the size Moka Pots I own, I find I can brew lovely Coffee and will not be throwing my Moka Pots in the bin.
    Thanks very much White Horse Coffee for the Article

      1. I have bought the 4 cups one. BUT, I am not getting the looking delicious coloured foam that in your picture, why and what am I doing wrong?

          1. Hey Dom, really interesting to see the comparisons. We’ve been doing filter for some time now but just started doing homemade cappuccinos on the weekends! Your guide has helped us make delicious coffee right off the bat, so thank you very much.

            I did want to understand dosage a bit better though if it’s something you’ve spent time understanding.

            The Moka Pot instructions all say fill the funnel / basket right up with ground coffee. If one fills out halfway is it going to over extract? Or does that not apply here?

            Also, 250g water in gives me about 210ml coffee (I take it off the stove as soon as I hear the gurgling). Now if you were pouring out a regular flat white I’d go for 35 to 40ml espresso and 110ml milk. What did we keep the Moka Pot proportions?

            Thanks so much

          2. If you’re wanting a more espresso style coffee, then filling is the way to achieve that. If you’re wanting to taste more terroir character then coming up with a precise recipe is how to achieve that.
            If you half fill the coffee portion you should half fill the water.
            You have touched on a subject i’ve thought about for some time, as you noted there is residual water, should we aim to make our calculations on brew strength and recipe on the final water that is used to brew the coffee, in your case the 210.
            I am thinking that it’s a coffee tale that you should turn off the moka pot when its starts to gurgle and those types of things, ive done a bit of testing but this has inspired me to do more.

    1. Dom, just received 4cup Bialetti from White Horse Coffee( I made a mistake, wanted. 2cup, no matter) however your scale doesn’t mention a 4cup stove top : can you send me the ratio please?

      1. The scale is for the old school aluminium brewers, the new stainless models are different, i have posted these updated new recipes over the years, but off the top of my head in your brewer you should aim to dose 18-20g of coffee and use 250ml of water. I will do a stovetop 2020 post soon, but i dont want to remove this old post as people use it for reference.
        I do apologise we only sell the 4 cup and the 6 cup.

  2. I have just purchased a 9 cup Bialetti Moka Express and the instructions are very limited thus me reading yours. I noticed that your posts said to use boiling water BUT mine tell me to fill with cold. I’m not game to use boiling water in case I wreck this new and expensive pot.
    Also, when it was advertised it said it could be used on an induction stove but I have seen where I will have to use a magnet.
    Please Help?
    Ps I will be buying your coffee beans after using up my stock

    1. Hi fellow stove top Lover!
      I am in so much love with my brewer and im glad the love of stovetop is growing.

      Here are my thoughts on your questions.

      Cold vs hot.
      I “get” not wanting to fill the pot with hot water as it may be dangerous, hot water potentially burning your skin whilst loading the pot, but I personally have never had an issue.

      The idea behind using hot water is that the temperature curve is much quicker to reach brewing temperatures, and hence your coffee is now not sitting in a cold environment for prolonged periods of time (cold water brewing).

      My experience with brewing like this means brewing with a better more consistent brew water temperature and the merits of that do not need to be rehashed here.

      I really doubt you will “wreck” your pot as we all have to understand at some stage the moka pot will have 90 odd degree water in it anyways, so being careful about putting a boiled kettle of water in the pot seems over cautious to me and ive been doing this system for several years without issues.

      I have to apologize, I’m not quite understanding what you are getting at with the magnet and induction, can you clarify your question for me so I can answer it better.
      One simple rule i use is that the original branded bialetti brewers are built in this way.
      Circular = new stainless steeel version and induction compatible.
      Hexagonal original design = alluminium model and not induction compatible.

      Send me a line and ill get back to you, thanks for continuing the dialogue.

  3. Hi,
    I’m happy to have found your site – thanks for the useful info. I have just recently come back to using my stove top Moka and for some reason, unless I grind beans very coarse (and therefore have a pretty weak and horrible coffee) only half the water comes through. I will try your ratios above – perhaps I’m simply putting too much coffee in?
    Thanks in advance

    1. Are you sure half of the water?
      1. stovetop design will retain some residual water below the safety valve.
      2. start with only dosing the basket half full.
      3. for best results, a $25 dollar pocket scale and porlex grinder will solve many hassles.

      1. Just going through comments to see if anyone had questions similar to mine. So nice to see you follow up and try to check on people Dom. I hardly ever see people taking the time for that. Massive thanks for sharing your knowledge generously

  4. I am unsure if I misunderstood, I can half-fill my moka pot basket? All I have read strongly suggest to make sure it’s full. I just received my moka pot and hoping you can help clarify. I’d hate to waste 😅 thanks!

    1. Its all about resistance monique, you can restrict flow by putting more coffee in, or by grinding finer, i just find that my stovetop tastes flat and harsh when i fill it right up.
      At the end of the day, if it comes out fast and you like it no worries.
      I am uncertain as to the type of coffee you prefer, from my experience most people getting into stovetop, like it thick dark and where you can stand a spoon up in the brew, if this is you then fill up that basket.

  5. I have a 6 cup stainless steel moka pot 300ml capacity.I cannot squeeze into the coffee basket more than 24 gms of ground coffee. I am therefore at a loss how I could make a stronger pot of coffee as you outline in your traditional brew ratios. Have got something wrong or what is it I don’t get.Thanks for your site.

    1. Sorry Terry, i feel like i replied to you.
      Your 6 cup moka pot is right on the monery for Italian brewing protocols, they like 6g per cup, at 24g total dose thats right on. you should yield a 30ml coffee per cup, the coffee bed will usually absorb its weight and the moka pot will retain around 50ml of water in the base.
      Simply put if you want it stronger from this point the 2 options are:
      1. grind finer
      2. drop water amount by 50ml until you are happy with strength, expect smaller serving sizes unfortuneatly.

          1. Nived, well spotted. Sometimes some brewers just dont fit the correct amount of coffee, in this case the brewer that was tested and it fit 18g quite nicely, the sca standard is a recommendation after all.

  6. Is it alright to half fill the basket? I’m planning to buy a 9 cup moka pot and I was wondering if it’s okay to half fill the basket so I could use this 250grams fine coffee ground for at least 15 to 20 cups or more? If that’s alright with you, can you explain how underfilling the basket works?

    1. Thanks for your response Karl, we are actually touching on an interesting point and that is “expectation”.
      People have so many memories of how coffee was served and a kid or young person and they carry this into there way of brewing and after a while, it becomes the “norm”.

      There is nothing wrong with brewing weak stovetop, there is nothing wrong with brewing super bitter and strong stovetop.
      I have had amazing filter roasts in stovetop brewed every which way, and also darker roasts, everything from “medium espresso” (i hate that term) to full city traditional.

      To answer your question though. if you under fill the basket you will allow the coffee to expand, which it will do if you give it room to do so or not.
      If you give it room it will allow more of the oil, gas/crema to enter the final cup, also low dosing or half filling will allow you to grind finer and the golden rule of fine ground coffee is FINE = MORE EXTRACTION, more extraction generally equals more flavour, there is a point of no return, where you will experience harsh cups from being too fine, but i challenge you as most home grinders wont achieve this and i would imagine better cups just from grinding finer.

      If you need to fill the basket for whatever reason (brewing lots of cups) or you just like the flavour, then i ask you to play around with the grind until you are happy with the cup profile.

      At the end of the day i generally stick to using the prescribed amount of water for the brewer you have, this is achieved by pouring the water to the fill point, it usually is a denomination of 30 or similar, i then divide that figure by 100 and times by 6 for a filter strength mokapot.
      For a traditional brew ratio do the same calculation, find out the water volume at the vac breaker, (eg 300) divide by 100 and times by 13, hence dose in this case would be around 39g of coffee.

      These recipes should make good starting points, always use your own judgement for what tastes best for you.

      1. Thanks a lot for that humble reply, sir! But if I may ask further, can you somrhow explain to me the calculation in a detailed manner? If that’s alright with you of course! Thanks a lot!

  7. Hi! I am new to stovetop brewing, but love the look of these over buying a large coffee machine. My husband and I love cappuccino’s, so I am wondering which size Bialetti you would recommend to make 2 mugs cappuccino’s? Thank you.

    1. I feel the 4 cup venus would be perfect for your needs, it brews around 200ml of brewed coffee, which should be enough to create the shot for the capuccino, what are you going to use to make the milk foam?

      1. I just ordered a 4 cup Venus — what proportions of coffee do I use. Also I have an old foamer but want one of the Bialetti’s (or would you suggest something else?)

        1. Hey there Julia, you will be dosing between 15-17g of coffee if you fill the dosing basket.
          Regarding a foamer, i would advise using what you have until it breaks.

  8. Absolutely brilliant advice! I was really struggling with some coffee I’d bought. It was so acidic upon cooling slightly, and that wasn’t what I really wanted from my coffee. Your method of less grounds and slight compaction works perfectly – a beautiful cup has now been had. Thanks 😀

  9. Hi there !
    Thanks for sharing your information! I was lucky to receive a 6 cup stove top for Christmas! I have fond memories of tasty coffee from one of these many years ago. However the coffee we have brewed is extremely bitter, and today’s cup even had to be poured out! I am pretty confident that the issue is that we are using pre-ground coffee that is described as an espresso blend, which I have gathered is too fine. Is there any way to make a delicious cup without wasting our current ground coffee using our stovetop? Any advice would be much appreciated!

    1. Hey Ash, i’ll do my best to respond, but if you can get me more information i can help further.

      Is it White Horse Coffee that you brewed?
      If so which coffee of ours was it?
      How much water are you putting in?
      How much coffee are you putting in?

      OK, so with the situation you have described to me i would recommend.

      Filling the water to meet the safety valve located inside the unit.
      Half to three quarter filling the coffee basket.
      Very lightly if not at all pressing the coffee.

      On a side note, from my experience it’s not the fineness of the ground but the ration of coffee to water that makes stovetop espresso not taste good.
      Im looking to update this articele for 2020 for the brewers we sell, but as a start i would use 6g of coffee to 100g of water.

  10. I am looking into buying a moka pot. I am contemplating a 3 cup pot, but how do you make one espresso in a bigger pot? Is there a line for the different cup levels for water? How will I know how much coffee grounds to put in? Would I just be better off buying a 1 cup Moka pot? The only reason I was thinking of a 3 cup pot was in case my daughter wanted to drink one with me.

    1. Moka pots are beautiful and they produce great coffee, it’s halfway between filter and espresso and very simple to make.

      Firstly to note, when the Italians say “cup”, they aren’t referring to a full cup size that we Westerners understand as a cup of coffee, they are saying something in the realm of 50ml/serve.

      Our unit that we sell is a 4 cup stainless steel unit by Bodum, it is regarded that the fill point on all stovetop brewers is to the safety valve, which in this case is 250ml/g of water. This will net you 4 cups of around 50-60ml.

      In terms of how much coffee to use the simplest and common understanding is to put coffee into the basket, fill it completely and scrap flat, do not press the coffee down. I have tried at long length to come up with ratios for all of the brewers, but a consistent and relative ratio does not exist unfortunately.

      If you are thinking to add milk to your coffee then this 4 cup may be enough for you and your daughter, if you are drinking black then i suppose you need to ask yourself how much will you drink, for me, 50ml is enough, but it certainly is not the large cup of black coffee made popular by the American diner experience.

      1. Hi Dom. As a long time moka pot devotee I enjoyed this essay. My italian parents and grandparents showed me the ways of the moka and I’ve continued the tradition, despite the nespresso fads! But I’d like some clarification on Rebecca’s question here. I’m also using a 3 cup pot and would like to know if it’s possible to make a single cup in a 3 cup pot (without wasting coffee). thanks

        1. Hey Michael and i suppose Rebecca.
          There is a little bit of leg work here and may end up in some wasted coffee however i feel the prudent approach would be to half fill the water volume and half dose the coffee chamber, be sure to grind finer as i’m sure the water would pass around the coffee rather than draw through it. So im expecting a weaker extraction straight off the bat.
          As a starting point try and grind finer than normal espresso, i will also try this myself.

          1. Gday Everyone that has been involved in this discussion.
            Today i tested brewing a smaller amount of coffee in a larger stovetop brewer, i will do my best to describe what i experienced and advise on what tasted nice.

            I used our White Horse Coffee Organic Blend which is an espresso roast for all of these experiements, the grind was an espresso grind.

            Please note that the first two brewers are identical, i used different brew ratios in them.

            Bialetti Venus Induction 4 cup
            Recommended or standard fill point for water: 250g
            Water used in this experiment: 100g
            Dose of coffee used in experiment: 7g
            Volume of coffee achieved after brewed: 62g
            Taste score: Me/Wife Very good/Good
            Notes: Solid coffee, touch strong and lacking in exceptional balance, may suit milk drinkers.

            Bialetti Venus Induction 4 cup
            Recommended or standard fill point for water: 250g
            Water used in this experiment: 150g
            Dose of coffee used in experiment: 8g
            Volume of coffee achieved after brewed: 77g
            Taste score: Me/Wife Excellent/excellent
            Notes: Exceptional cup of coffee, great flavour, not too dry not too strong, just right.

            Bialetti Venus Induction 6 cup
            Recommended or standard fill point for water: 350g
            Water used in this experiment: 150g
            Dose of coffee used in experiment: 13g
            Volume of coffee achieved after brewed: 72g
            Taste score: Me/Wife Very good/Average
            Notes: Subtle sour finish

            Vev Vigano 8 cup
            This is a vintage brewer that i have owned for over 20 years
            Recommended or standard fill point for water: 450
            Water used in this experiment: 200
            Dose of coffee used in experiment: 15g
            Volume of coffee achieved after brewed: Did Not Brew
            Taste score: Me/Wife Not tasted
            Notes: May have been an insufficient amount of water to raise up the brewing stem.

            In conclusion i think the bialetti units that we sell work great half filled, the portion of coffee delivered was quite small and i think enough for one person.

        2. Hey Michael, i have done some testing on lower portion brewing in stovetops and will post it here in the comments section.

    2. Hello Rebecca, i am sorry this took some time, i just conducted some testing on the stovetop lower portion brewing, and i will post the results here in the comments section.

      1. Thanks for that Dom, I picked up the 3 cup today and this will come in handy if I want to try a smaller brew. Great work mate.

  11. Hello Dom. I just bought a Bialetti Venus 4 cup and the maximum I could load the coffee basket was almost 17 grams. According to your traditional brew instructions I should be able to fill it with a least 26 grams. Is that right? Am I doing something wrong?

  12. Hiya, I have a 9 cup Moka but the coffee insert only takes about 40g – I can’t see how I’d fill it to 70+

    Is this unusual?

      1. Hey Charlie, if you can tell me the base water capacity filled to the blow off valve, I can give specific details.

  13. Hey,
    Sorry if I’m reading this wrong but on the ratio for a 1 pot you’re meant to use 60ml water but then you say to fill the moka pot up to the pressure valve. Do you have to fill the pot up to the pressure value, or can you just add the amount of water you need, as per the ratios? Also is it ok to use a 6 cup to make 1 cup?


    1. Hey Mike.

      You asked many questions, i’ll try and answer beside each bit.

      1 pot you’re meant to use 60ml water, sit the brewer on a scale. Dom: pour water to the safety, that is the correct amount of water to use.
      but then you say to fill the moka pot up to the pressure valve. Dom: yes, this is a good general rule.
      Do you have to fill the pot up to the pressure value. Dom: i have tested half filling, i would not dose lower.
      or can you just add the amount of water you need. Dom: half filling is my recommendation.
      Also is it ok to use a 6 cup to make 1 cup? Dom: you are likely going to get 3 cups, not less.

      The way the brewer functions you will struggle to get good flavour dosing less than half.

  14. Thank you for this interesting article. I have a Moka Pot but I am still not sure of its cup size.
    I filled it up with water just under the safety valve and poured it into a measuring cup where it accounted to 550 ml.
    Now based on your table of measurements this means that it is a 9-cup Moka Pot, but I am confused because someone told me in order to know how many cups is my Moka Pot, I have to divide the water level over 75 since 75 ml is a cup in a Moka Pot. The result was 6.6 which means a 6-cup Moka Pot. So what is the type of my Moka Pot?

    1. I mean it all matter how the calcaulation for the “cup size” is done.
      Some italian cups are 90ml some are 60ml.
      550/60 = 9.16
      I dont think it really matters.
      Id love to know how much coffee you can fit in the basket for brewing, knowing this info might give us some true calculations.
      Respect on trying to find out.

  15. I want advice on which size moka pot to buy. I use a normal-sized mug and do not add milk to it. I am afraid that the 6 cup will brew very strong coffee and require more coffee hence increasing my caffeine intake. Should I buy 4 cup instead and I can dilute it with water?

    1. Rithiha, i would buy the 6 cup and dose a little lower if you are finding it strong. The 6 cup should yield an average of 300 -320ml of brewed coffee.

  16. Hi! can 40g of coffee reallly fit into a 6 cup moka pot without tampering down? i really want thick, strong and syrupy espresso like coffee

    1. I have not revised these recipes in a few years, i apologize, they were originally made with a tamping technique, i apologize.

    1. G’day Doug, at home i have a Westinghouse Ceramic cooktop, its 4 years old and i heat coffee on the top, in my opinion general usage of the cooktop has affected the cooktop in terms of scratches and such more that me brewing my coffee on it.
      There has been no adverse affect from my stovetop on my unit also.
      My cooktop is however electric as i do not personally like induction.

  17. Congratulations on a great article on moka pot usage and dosages.
    If I bought a 4 cup moka pot, which is the smallest model you sell, how well does it make a single cup of coffee?

  18. Dom, thank you for this very thorough article. I have just recently gotten into moka pot brewing for cappuccinos / flat whites and found your article to be the basis for my own experiments. When you do update for 2020, I’d like to add some notes for induction. Induction (directly with an induction-capable pot, not using a magnetic disk as an interface for aluminum models) is extremely efficient and does not warm the moka body at all – only the very bottom of the base gets hot. Because of that, I’ve started by preheating the top chamber (as well as the coffee cup and milk pot) with boiling water while prepping everything else. This allows the final product to be at least warm and not cool. Secondly I begin with cold water in the bottom chamber as starting with hot water had the brew start almost immediately and resulted in weak coffee. Lastly I started the induction hob low (4 out of 12) until coffee started percolating out, and further reduced the heat (3 out of 12) until the first bubbles showed, then cooling the bottom chamber under the tap. This resulted in something that matches most of the writeups I’ve seen on gas hobs for ~ 4 min until boil and 60 sec brew time. I hope this helps!

    1. Hello, if you tell me the capacity of water your pot holds I can help more.
      But if you half fill the pot with water and coffee you may be on the right path.

  19. Hey. I have a bialetti Moka express for three cups. I am the only person in the house to drink it though. How should I adjust the ratio for one person?

  20. HI DOM…….. i mistakenly bought a 6 cup aluminium Bialetti Moka Pot which i just received. Could you please help in having the right ratio to make 3 cups of coffee. ( i take americano with milk). Thank you for your time.

    1. Hey there Evelyn, when you pour water in the base up to the safety valve how much water does the moka pot hold in grams?

      Also, how many mls/grams of coffee are you looking to brew, is it 3 large breakfast mugs around 300ml, or 3 small demitasse around 60ml?

  21. Hi!

    Thanks heapsnfor the info this has been really informative. I have the Moka mini express for 2 at home and am wondering how much is the best amount of water to use?

    Thanks heaps! 😊

    1. I’d guess that your brewer holds between 100-120ml of water which means somewhere between 10-12g of fine ground coffee will make a nice cup.

  22. Hi there. Thank you for the great tips! I have one question. I have a 10 cup moka pot and the outcome is usually bland tasting. Do you have any tips specifically for a 10 cup moka pot? Thank you!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Brewing with #nofilter, cezve style

Brewing Specialty Coffee on the Cezve, Ibrik, Turkish Coffee Pot or Greek Style It goes by many names. It’s ancient. And it’s a beautiful way to brew.  After nearly 20 years of coffee making I’ve gone back to my roots. My father is from the Balkans and in that region coffee is prepared in a […]

Brewing Coffee with a Chemex

I’ve loved the Chemex for years! From its fine award winning design to its iconic appearance in the James Bond’s movie, ‘From Russia With Love’. But I really love it because it just makes really nice coffee. Welcome to the next level of coffee drinking! Today I’m going to show you a great two cup […]

Brew coffee at home with an AeroPress

Just when the world of coffee brewing looked set in stone, along come the AeroPress! Since it’s launch, this brewing wonder has seen a volcanic rise in popularity and praise. Here’s why. It brews the right amount of coffee, combines immersion brewing – french press style, with a paper filter – v60 drip style, and a pressure […]

Coffee Home Subscription


Join our community of Home Baristas and get helpful info on how to make great coffee at home.